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In Wallace Steven's poem, "Sunday Morning" the idea of religion as it relates to reality is explored through the mind of the older lady. It is not through the older lady's religious voice, but the voice of Atheism, in her mind, that the poem is narrated. The poem is a discussion, a debate within her head, between the older lady's atheist voice and her religious voice on the perception of divinity. Her atheist voice questions religion, in which a problem of faith in the world is shown. It is shown through the older lady's atheist thoughts that those who believe in creeds that are not from an immediate perception of the visible world are living in illusion, and this illusion can make them unhappy. Through this atheistic ideal, religion is a form of illusion based on what is not visible and real. Death is shown as an absolute of human existence, and that the knowledge that death ends all finally, stimulating the awareness of beauty. Shown through the older lady's atheist thoughts, the answer to this question is shown. In her meditation, it is shown that human's should accept this condition and shed the illusion of religion and in this acceptance man will free them to love the world around them, and find paradise her on earth.
By giving the atheist voice the duty narration and the religious voice a duty of question tradition roles are switched. Formally, it is the religious voice, as like the bible, of which the atheist questions. Stevens uses this traditional switch as to show the atheist doctrine as superior, of which man should follow instead of religion. This conversation, the mediation within the old lady's head, is where atheism is shown as having concrete merit and worthy of praise.
Through the older lady's atheist voice, the poem shows the older lady, who is well off, almost pampered, with a sensuous streak, young but not past her prime, "she feels the dark / Encroachment of that old catastrophe" (Stevens, 5) It is the advancing of her age that motivates her thoughts about death and motivates her thoughts of divinity. Her absence from Sunday's religious activities suggests that she has drifted away from the religious traditions in which she was born. The older lady has not, however, shaken the hold of those religious doctrines in which she is familiar with.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
The image of the older lady becomes transposed with the image of Christ walking on the water as passes through her thoughts onto the subjects of religion. Through her atheist voice, the older lady examines her relation to religion and uses it as an example for those who live by such religious doctrines. Through this dreamlike journey to Palestine, the examination of her relationship to religion will serves as a lesson.
In the beginning of the poem, it is Sunday morning and the older lady, through whose awareness the question of religious faith is to be examine
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Names referenced in this report
Stevens, Wallace Steven, Christ,
Locations included in this paper
earth, Palestine, creeds,
Keywords referenced in this paper
atheist, religious doctrine, lady, paradise, thoughts, atheism, divinity, Christ, questions, all things, religious traditions, religious activities, religious beliefs, Palestine, bliss, Jove, human existence, her bounty, imagination, dead man, this condition, this one, dressing room, early morning, salvation, human condition, narrative form, embodiment, concrete, romantic, narration, traditional, misty, ideal, haunt, awareness, relief, fruit, discussion, Seem, atheistic, precondition, sepulcher, transposed, image, dreamlike, sensuous, creeds, physicality, adjectives,